It was a great honor and privilege to go on a mission trip with twenty-one other young people and the Porters, Chavises, Caballeros; and working with our host missionary Brother Wayne Monday and his family. It was a great blessing for Brother Monday to be able to spend all ten days with us. Every day I thank God for being a part of the Panama Mission trip that took place this year.
Stepping on the plane from Minneapolis to Miami, I did not know what to expect. I was anxious about meeting all of the other young people that were going to embark on this journey with me. I was nervous but excited about what God was going to do in Panama. When we arrived in Panama and were waiting for our vans, we got to know each other. Everyone was fun to talk to and be around. I know that I have made friends for a lifetime.
My favorite part of the trip was doing outreach and being able to go to the services and watch how God moved in miraculous ways. We had seven services throughout the ten days we were there. There was a regional crusade in Colón City that lasted two days. We split into groups and evangelized in the local community, handing out fliers inviting others to come to the services. The area we were evangelizing in Colón City had poor living conditions. The sewage drained into the ditches and garbage was visible on the streets. God moved in each of the two services in great ways. The first hotel that we stayed at in Colón was beautiful but did not have very good air conditioning, which made the experience all the more real. After our time in Colón, we traveled to Panama City, where we would spend the rest of our time travelling a minimum of one hour one way to get to the churches where we were ministering. God moved in a powerful and miraculous way in every service. One thing that kept me amazed was the fact that—no matter what was happening in the lives of the people of these churches, or if they had to walk a mile or two to get to church—they worshipped God with everything that they had. The churches that we went to did not have the luxuries that we have. We are blessed in everything that we own or have. In every service, if there were not enough seats for us to sit down, the Panamanians would give up their seats so we could sit down and they would stand. We sat on folded metal chairs, not padded pews. Unexpectedly, they gave us each a bottle of ice cold water in every service. Their hospitality was amazing!
At the hotel in Panama City, we were blessed to have a room where we could eat breakfast together and have morning devotions. Brother Porter, Brother Caballero, and Brother Chavis alternated and taught devotions each morning. Words cannot begin to describe the Spirit of the Lord in that room. Each one of us was blessed and ministered to in a different way.
This is a testimony of God’s protection over us while we were there. We were on our way back to the hotel and got separated from the van Brother Monday was driving, and so we pulled over to the side of the road to wait for them. The police pulled up about five or ten minutes later, and the two fluent Spanish speakers we had on our trip with us were in the other van. We only had Jonathan, Brother Monday’s oldest son, who is not over the age of twelve. He talked to them and told us what the police were saying. They said that in the area we were in there was a lot of crime. People would come up to vehicles with weapons of all sorts and rob you. The police wanted us to follow them to their nearest station to keep us safe. So we followed the police and waited for the other van to come and get us.
It is commonly said that a mission trip is life-changing. By testimony I will say that it most definitely is life-changing. One thing this mission trip did for me was change my perspective. It changed the way that I viewed situations, trials, or anything that comes my way. One thing that stuck out to me throughout the services was that even though there was a language barrier I was still able to minister to them by praying with them. I got out of my shell and I let God use me. If I can do that in a country where I do not know the language, then what is stopping me from ministering to people in my own city where I know the language? It truly was a great blessing from God for me to take part in this trip. If you ever have the opportunity to go on a mission trip, GO! You will not be disappointed and will definitely be blessed!